DBS Check and the Proposed Welsh Smacking Ban

The Welsh parliament in Cardiff has recently announced plans to outlaw smacking in the country. Currently, the law in Wales – and in England – allows “reasonable punishment” as a reason for smacking. The definition of “reasonable” is of course up for discussion. However, recently the Welsh Assembly has discussed removing this reason. If the law goes through, parents in Wales won’t be allowed to smack their children. There are many implications to this. One of the main consequences could be for a DBS check. Could you be affected?

Will smacking be a criminal offence?

Some forms of corporal punishment at home or in schools are already illegal. Corporal punishment in schools was banned in state schools in 1986, and in private schools in 1998. Gone are the days of children receiving a caning for being naughty in school. Similar laws already ban parents from using excess force to smack their children. Again, what constitutes excess force is a matter of debate. However, beating children with sticks or other implements is definitely not allowed.

The changes being proposed in Wales will remove the reasonable punishment element of the defence. Therefore, any adult arrested for smacking a child could be charged with assault. The idea is to make hitting a child the same as hitting an adult in law. Welsh parents are very divided on the issue. Many don’t smack their children and are in agreement with the new laws. However, many don’t have a problem with smacking as a method of discipline and are concerned that new laws could mean a criminal record.

DBS Check and the Smacking Ban

If the Welsh government succeeds in its bid to outlaw smacking, then this could affect anyone applying for a DBS check. If the law passes, the police could in theory decide to prosecute anyone who is caught smacking their children. Their criminal record will show the conviction, and the person will have their details entered on the Police computer. If at some point in the future they apply for a DBS check, the assault conviction may appear on their certificate. Is this likely to happen? We’re still not sure. The legislation is still at an early stage and there’s a way to go before it passes into law. Furthermore, the police may be reluctant to prosecute. It’s fair to say that there will be lots of publicity about the first people convicted under this new law.

DBS Certificates

It’s also important to remember that different types of DBS certificate show different details. A basic disclosure will only show the most recent, or serious, convictions. An enhanced disclosure delves deeper into your criminal record. Whether or not the police decide to disclose an assault charge will depend on the circumstances. However, a conviction of assault against a child isn’t going to look great if you’re applying for a job working with kids. The best advice is probably to keep an eye on the law and see how things progress. It’s also probably worth investigating other methods of discipline which might be more effective.